Things to Do in Portland

Portland is known for offering some of the most genuine culinary wonders and craft beers on the west coast. With coffee shops on every block and so many restaurants and bars to pick from, it’s a difficult task to determine which ones are the absolute best. But Portland goes beyond its active city lights and busy streets. Past its urban boundary, the region is filled to the brim with trees, trails, and streams, creating an approachable and tranquil escape for the city dwellers and those traveling through. With lots of parks and impeccable plant life, cultural spots, boutique shops and natural scenery to take in, uncover some of our favorite Portland gems with our guide to the city.

The Ultimate Guide to Spring in Portland

A springtime visit to Portland should be on everyone’s bucket list. With longer days, moderate weather, less rainfall, cherry tree blossoms, and flowers blooming around this iconic Pacific Northwest city, visitors will find it to be a great place to visit in the spring months. Plus, Portland is known as the “City of Roses” and springtime visitors have the chance to attend the city’s signature event, Portland Rose Festival, which runs from late May through early June.

Situated between the Willamette River and the lush playground of Washington Park, Dossier is perfectly placed for the urban explorer in the heart of downtown Portland. Offering travelers a remarkable immersion into the city’s curated culture, each of Dossier’s art-filled rooms and suites features locally inspired amenities bringing the spirit of Portland into the hotel. During your stay, be sure to dine at Bistro Adler. New to the hotel, Bistro Adler’s seasonal menu celebrates the diverse, culinary bounty of the Pacific Northwest in an upscale, yet relaxed setting inspired by the traditional bistro of France. For foodies looking to get out and explore the local culinary scene, the city is also known for offering some of the most genuine culinary wonders and craft beers on the west coast. With endless restaurants, bars, and coffee shops on every block, it’s a difficult task to determine which ones are the absolute best.

Cherry Blossoms - Portland Japanese Garden

The blooming cherry blossoms are one of the first signs of spring in Oregon. These beautiful trees, with their pink and white flowers, are all over Oregon, however Portland Japanese Garden is where you’ll find some of the very cherry blossoms in the state. Cherry blossoms begin to bloom in Mid-March so you'll want to time your visit accordingly.

International Rose Test Garden

Not to be missed are the colorful rose-tipped rows of the picturesque International Rose Test Garden, featuring over 10,000 rose bushes of approximately 650 varieties. A springtime visit is ideal to see the blooms, with the peak happening around June. Take a peaceful and fragrant stroll through the rows, enjoy the unbeatable skyline view, or snap some amazing floral selfies – perfect for Instagram.

Portland Rose Festival

Running from May 26th through June 11th, Portland Rose Festival features multiple parades, waterfront carnival rides, concerts, races, fireworks and plenty of roses.

Multnomah Falls

At 620 feet (189 m), Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall. Located just 30 miles east of downtown along the Historic Columbia River Highway, the cascade offers both wheelchair-accessible viewing platforms and steep hiking trails that lead all the way to the top. Fed by rainwater and snowmelt, the falls’ steady stream runs year-round but is especially beautiful in the spring. According to Native American legend, these falls were created to win the heart and hand of a young princess who needed a secret place to bathe. Be sure to check out the viewing area located in a carved-out opening in the face of the rock. From there, you can see both tiers of the falls and get a sense of their awe-inspiring height. Adventurers can also climb the paved trail to Benson Bridge which spans the width of the falls.

Portland Saturday Market

Located in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland Saturday Market is the largest continuously operating open-air arts and crafts market in the country, featuring local handmade arts, crafts and foods from the Pacific Northwest.

Bridges to Brews

On April 23rd, the Bridge to Brews celebration in Tom McCall Waterfront Park will feature an annual 8k and 10k walk/run over 4 of Portland’s iconic Bridges. After the race, the celebration truly begins with a beer/cider-tasting event on the waterfront. Sip on some of Portland’s best beer and cider while enjoying live music, games, and goodies from local vendors.

UFO Festival

On May 19th & 20th, thousands of visitors will flock to McMinnville, a quiet town located 40 miles southwest of Portland, to attend the city’s famous UFO Festival. Second in popularity only to the UFO festival in Roswell, New Mexico, Oregon’s annual celebration features days full of parades, costume contests, expert speakers and family fun.

  • Assorted dishes including salads, grilled meats, seafood, fries, toast, and desserts arranged on a checkered table.

    Address: 1126 SW Alder Street Portland, OR 97205

    Woodsy dessert bar that glamps up the classic camping treat by torching marshmallows into creative gourmet bites. Offering many unique flavors such as whiskey salted caramel, red raspberry, and lemon meringue.

    Address: 580 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

    Hand-painted entrance windows welcoming a taste of Korea downtown. Serving bibimbap, fried chicken, bao burgers, dumplings, and sweet treats, this quaint little restaurant offers outdoor sidewalk seating and quick-to-go dinners.

    Address: 4039 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217

    Situated on Mississippi Ave, Lovely’s is a haven for all things food and drink. It is a lively setting for wood-fired pies, plus other casual eats including salads & house-made ice cream.

    Address: 200 NE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97232

    Casual spot for Mexican for drinks, sandwiches & vegetarian bowls with locally sourced ingredients. Plus, well-deserved accolades like Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants.

    Address: 4636 NE 42nd Ave Suite A, Portland, OR 97218

    Yonder blends Pacific Northwest cuisine and delectable Southern sensibilities seamlessly. Offering award-winning fried chicken, whimsical goodies, and freshly inventive local vegetable dishes, this casually cozy and haint blue dining room is a delightful countrified Portland experience.

    Address: 3808 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227

    From island-inspired cocktails to enticing curries, Eem is a destination for food that makes you feel like you just got your passport stamped. Fear not these foreign flavors! With drinks that massage the senses, we are here as your vacation spirit guide.

    Address: 126 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204

    Pine Street Market, the city's first food hall, feels a bit like a refined and grown-up school cafeteria, full of gourmet offerings and communal tables. The Market features nine of Portland’s best chefs and purveyors gathered under one roof — perfect for groups of travelers who can’t agree on what to eat.

    Address: 1570 NW 22nd Ave, Portland, OR 97210

    This truly unique neighborhood brewpub features a full-service restaurant with two levels and a wide selection (16 taps!) of locally brewed Breakside craft beers. The large outdoor patio is a refreshing spot for sipping an ice-cold Breakside Pilsner on a warm, sunny day — especially if you add a giant Bavarian pretzel to go with it — and you definitely should.

    • Dossier Hotel
      • Fortune

      Address: 614 SW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

      Situated in the Sentinel, this sleek and new plant-based bar offers all the classics minus the meat, dreamed up by none other than Chef Jewan Manuel aka Plant Based Papi. With vibrant colors and lively murals, plus weekly DJ sets, this bar provides a very bright and lively atmosphere.

      Address: 5424 NE 30th Ave, Portland, OR 97211

      From a den of dark shadows and dripping candles comes exacting cocktails, turntable spins, and the spicy surprise of Burmese noodles, courtesy of budding bar star Kyle Webster and his James Beard-winning wife, chef Naomi Pomeroy. Order whatever you like, but the eight nightly specials are the show, each formulated to the drop and accompanied by a historic footnote.

      Address: 2615 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202

      Bar Norman is a great afternoon stop for wine coinsurers. Sit inside and sip your wine under twinkly lights, high ceilings, and great company, or snag a flight out on the patio and swirl your favorites from classic reds and whites, to bubbly citrus concoctions.

      Address: 404 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97215

      A taproom charming enough to get married in! This converted auto-body shop displays loads of natural illumination that nurtures the hanging ferns and immense plant life all around. What better way to discover new wines than to swirl them under soft globe lights while taking in the fragrant scent of oak barrels.

    • Dossier Hotel

      Address: Each distillery in the Row is open on weekends for drop-in spirits tastings also open to the public on weekdays. See the listings on the right for each Distillery’s address, as well as information about their behind-the-scenes tours. Several local companies also offer tour packages of the Row to help you experience the amazing variety and distinctive quality that only locally distilled spirits can offer.

      Address: 900 SE Salmon Street, Portland, OR 97209

      New Deal Distillery has been proudly crafting small-batch, award-winning spirits in Portland’s Southeast Industrial District since 2004. Visit our Tasting Room & Distiller’s Workshop to sample and see what we’re playing with or take a hands-on whiskey-making class taught by owner and distiller, Tom Burkleaux. Find New Deal at local farmer's markets, a spirit's event around town, or on the shelf of your local liquor store.

      Address: 2671 NW Vaughn Street, Portland, OR 97209

      Locally run Freeland Free Spirits, one of very few women-owned and -run distilleries in the world, has gorgeous jewel-toned bottles of gin and bourbon, and cans of lovingly formulated cocktails created with locally sourced herbs and ingredients. Any spirits connoisseur needs a Freeland creation in their suitcase.

    • Dossier Hotel

      Address: 626 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97205

      A lovely wine shop located downtown, Park Avenue Wines has a curated selection of locally and internationally sourced bottles to take home, as well as an in-store bar for tastings and wines by the glass. In partnership with Spätzle & Speck, they also offer a fantastic full menu. Have no fears about snobby sommeliers here — you’ll only find kind, helpful wine lovers who only want to pair you with flavors you’ll love.

    • Address: 408 NW Couch St, Portland OR, 97209

      Part coffee shop, part shoe gallery, Deadstock Coffee is a stylish haven where sneakerheads and coffee enthusiasts converge. Like the latte you’re sipping (with the sneaker stenciled on the foam)? Buy some freshly roasted Deadstock beans to take home. And thanks to the fact that

      Nike and Adidas HQs are in Portland’s backyard, you can find some pretty sweet (and sometimes rare) kicks.

      Address: 1026 SW Stark Street, Portland, OR 97205

      Stumptown Coffee Roasters is a coffee roaster and retailer based in Portland, Oregon. The chain's flagship café and roastery opened in 1999. Three other cafes, a roastery and a tasting annex have since opened in Portland, as well as locations in Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Orleans.

      Address: 813 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205

      A group of really cool people who love good company, great coffee, and the smell of freshly roasted beans. Good Coffee lives up to its name by offering imaginative coffee creations, such as their lavender matcha latte, and innovative breakfast go-to's like their French fry vegan burritos.

      Address: 1028 SE Water Ave. Portland, OR 97214

      Seizing the moment in 2009, WAC purchased a vintage, French-built 1974 Samiac roaster from a company in Switzerland and set about building a new business around it. Having dozens of years of experience in training and consulting in the specialty coffee industry, Bruce and Matt saw a great opportunity to develop and showcase a retail and roasting business in the same building as the American Barista & Coffee School and share with new Water Avenue Coffee customers the decades of combined experience to offer an unsurpassed level of support.

      Address: 537 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

      Colorful and artsy coffee bar with an extensive respect for coffee, herbs, and wildflowers. Follow the bright neon sign and pastel packaging to take home a bag of beans with an enamel prize in every blend.

      Address: 501 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205

      St. Honoré opens up their doors bright and early to let that freshly baked pastry and ground coffee scent drift into the streets of Portland. Luring in downtown dwellers and guests alike, start your morning off right with honey-glazed croissants, soft baguettes, or French macarons.

    • Dossier Hotel

      Address: 98 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204

      Easily accessible from downtown, Tom McCall Waterfront Park runs adjacent to the Willamette River and is often bustling with joggers, cyclists, picnickers, and others who want to enjoy the fresh air and the water. You definitely do not want to miss it in the spring, when the park’s numerous cherry trees absolutely explode with blossoms — it’s a sight to behold.

      Address: 4000 SW Fairview Blvd, Portland, OR 97221

      With twelve miles of both relaxing and challenging hiking trails winding through 189-acres, Washington Park’s Hoyt Arboretum provides access to a globally diverse landscape, from stands of stately redwoods to groves of flowering dogwoods and cherries, exhibiting many rare and threatened species along the way.

      Address: 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205

      Located in Washington Park, the International Rose Test Garden is home to over 10,000 rose bushes of approximately 650 varieties. Visit between April and October to see the blooms, with the peak happening around June. Take a peaceful and fragrant stroll through the rows and forget your cares. Enjoy the unbeatable skyline view or snap some amazing floral selfies.

      Address: 4099 NW Thurman Street, Portland, OR 97205

      At 5,200-acres, Forest Park is the largest urban park in the country and is a gorgeous, forested oasis alongside the city. Forest Park’s extensive system of trails, fire lanes and gravel roads provide excellent accessible opportunities for hiking, walking, running, and simply escaping the urban atmosphere. You’ll be amazed at the lush canopy of deep forest and ferns, wildlife and birdsong, just minutes from downtown.

      Address: 6220 SE Salmon Street, Portland, OR 97215

      This large, forested park covers an extinct volcano with tennis courts, a playground & 360-degree views. Portland’s historic water reservoirs on Mount Tabor are still maintained and a local favorite pastime to enjoy as reflective pools.

      Address: 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221

      Washington Park is an urban park that includes the Oregon Zoo, World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum, International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, amphitheater, memorials, archery range, tennis courts, soccer field, picnic areas, playgrounds, public art and many acres of tranquil wild forest with miles of trails for hiking. It’s easily accessible via either car or the Max from downtown.

    • Dossier Hotel

      Address: 1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214

      The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation's leading science centers and a featured attraction located along Portland’s waterfront. Lean back and gaze upon the milky way in their planetarium, practice chemistry in their lab, sink down into their submarine, or tour one of their many rotating exhibits.

      Address: 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205

      The Portland Art Museum's mission is to engage and enrich diverse communities through the presentation, interpretation, and conservation of art and film. Take an afternoon to admire fine art and sculpture, then discuss and gather at the café behind the museum.

      Address: 426 SE. Grand Ave., Portland, OR 97214

      Next Adventure is Portland's alternative outdoor store. Find the best selection of apparel, climbing, kayaking, paddling, snowboarding, skiing, hiking and camping gear as well as rentals for all of your outdoor activities.

      Address: 624 SE. 7th Ave., Portland, OR 97214

      Local outpost specializing in sales & rental of gear for paddle sports such as kayaking & rafting. Strap on a life jacket then paddle down the Willamette River. Examine the bridges from underneath, wave at the sailboats cruising by, and admire the city of Portland from the water.

      Address: 117 NW 2nd Ave., Portland, OR 97204

      A full-service bike shop that also offers rentals, repairs, and awesome themed tours of the city, Cycle Portland is a must if you’re inclined to push the pedals in PDX. Show up hungry and take the Foodie Field Trip tour, which spans 7-8 miles and hits several local hotspots, or rent a set of wheels and set out on your own path — they have everything from easy-going e-bikes to uber-hip single speeds.

      Address: 910 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

      BurnCycle is a local fitness favorite — a signature 45-minute indoor cycling workout that incorporates drills to target your entire body. They’re all about community and positivity, so show up for this low-impact, high-intensity workout with a smile on your face, and you’ll be met with endless words of encouragement, and you’ll leave feeling like a million bucks — body and soul.

      Address: 115 NW 5th Ave., Portland, OR 97204

      Welcome to the West Coast’s premier retro arcade, with two stories of classic video games, pinball machines, a full bar, yummy eats, and live music. Play Atari and Nintendo Classic games from your youth while you snack on Frito pie and sip Montucky Cold Snacks. And if you’re lucky, you may even get to take part in a pinball tournament with some serious paddle pros.

      Address: 1624 NW Glisan St, Portland, OR 97209

      A remodeled evangelical mission theater owned by Portland’s favorite restaurant chain, McMenamins (pronounced mehk·meh·nuh·mehnz, try saying that five times fast). Munch on crispy Cajun tater tots and sip on a rich and malty dark beer while viewing entertaining shows.

    • Dossier Hotel

      Address: 220 SW 1st Ave., Portland, OR 97204

      With a clean, light-filled, and modern design, Serra Cannabis is easy and comfortable to navigate and makes it easy for newbies to cannabis to shop. Just fill out a Feelings card to help you express what kind of experience you’d like to have with your cannabis (relaxed, focused, creative, happy, energetic, or relief), and a guide will help you choose the appropriate strain to suit your needs.

      Address: 3315 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

      House of Vintage is like no other vintage shop or thrift store you’ve ever visited. Rather than a house, it’s more like a small city full of quirky vintage clothes, housewares, furniture, and knick-knacks — some new items, as well. A collective of over 60 dealers within the 13,000 square feet, you can easily spend an entire day simply getting lost in the various rooms, just playing dress-up — and doing so just might be the perfect rainy-day activity.

      Address: 3158 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

      Founded in 1969 and the oldest record store in the Pacific Northwest, Music Millennium specializes in mostly underground music and homegrown Portland talents. Aside from hard-to-find vinyl and the latest new releases, you can also catch in-store performances at the shop from time to time.

      Address: 412 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

      A local record label that’s also a local handmade goods shop — how very Portland! We dare you to walk into the boutique without uttering the word “cute” at least once; full of handmade jewelry, baby items and stuffies adorned with cheerful faces, intricately illustrated prints, apparel, candles and other housewares — we also dare you to leave without buying anything.

      Address: 404 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

      WILDFANG is a whole mood. A female-founded, women-run clothing and lifestyle shop, Wildfang makes undeniably stylish clothes for gender-non-conforming womxn and tomboys. The Portland flagship store has a wall where you can carve your name and permanently make your mark, like the boss that you are!

      Address: 627 SW 19th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

      Hip merchant offering Portland-branded T-shirts, accessories and hats for all genders, plus souvenirs. Take home a piece of that PDX carpeting, rock the roses on your sleeves, and show off your downtown drapery.

      Address: 403 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

      Modern boutique with independent-designer tops, pants, knits, shoes & accessories for all genders. Pick up a stylish hat, rugby shorts with expressive patch designs, and even some tasteful home décor!

Top Picks for Fall

  • The image shows a richly decorated room with red Chinese-style arches, ornate furniture, and art displays, creating an immersive cultural exhibit.
    • The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry is featuring “Orcas: Our Shared Future” for a limited time.
  • The image shows a scenic waterfall with two cascades and a bridge in between, surrounded by lush greenery and steep rock formations.
    • Now is a great time to visit Portland’s world-famous International Rose Test Garden, which is free and incredibly fragrant.
    • Relax in the most magnificent waterfall corridor in North America, with countless opportunities to park and stroll among Jurassic ferns in a moss-drenched wilderness.
  • The image shows a building with the sign
    • Visit the Aviation American Gin Distillery and Visitors Center for a tour of Ryan Reynolds’ office.
Our site uses cookies

By continuing to use our site you are agreeing to our cookie policy.

Our site uses cookies

By continuing to use our site you are agreeing to our cookie policy.

Your cookie preferences have been saved.